Restaurants come, restaurants go. Last year’s hot table is as passe as a creme brulee butane torch. It’s all rather dizzying, and depressing.

Gary Manning’s 60 Hope Street has anchored the top of town with a surefooted marriage of crisp modern cooking and relaxed dining for 13 years. Unlucky for some perhaps, but not – on our recent outing – for this handsome townhouse.

There’s no linen on the tables these days, but service as sharp as a Victorinox knife set. It’s ‘relaxed formal’ mindset is one that suits the city well. There’s just enough theatre here, without the histrionics. And, more often than not, you leave smiling and sated, feeling your money’s been well spent.

We’d not been for a while, and were keen to see whether the dreaded c word: consistency, would be 60 Hope Street’s undoing.

Phew. It wasn’t.

But, also, it wasn’t especially busy either on the Friday night we headed uptown. Manning’s other outposts, The Quarter and Host both rammed and boisterous.

Sometimes less is more, though. And 60 Hope Street’s generously spaced tables, calm and unflustered staff and pared back, reassuringly clipped menu whispered ‘we’re in control here, don’t worry’.

At this point, I’m well aware that our review is sounding like an Echo advertorial – I wish I could throw in a few jabs to spice things up. Did the drinks take too long in coming? Alas no.

Was the bread bought in and stodgy? Afraid not. It was dipped into the olive oil with ravenous abandon.

Oh, I know, I can have a go at the slate. I don’t like slate. You know, when you’re served something on an errant roof tile, because the dishwasher’s broken? I’m not sure about that. But, hey, what was on the slate – delicately gin-cured salmon across the table, and, for me, hand dived scallops with that ozoney-fresh tang of some Hebridean harbour, with sauteed belly pork, more than made up for the obvious draft they’ll have whistling through the cockloft.

Mains saw more slate (what are they doing up there? building an extension?) with pink slithers of grassy, juicy Cumbrian lamb arranged like an exploded diagram of the Big Bang. Nascent galaxies of baby leeks, carrot, sweet breads and courgettes radiating outwards, connected by a cosmic string of puree. Lots of lamb, too. No fiddly half portions here.

For me, a lone fillet of sea bass, judiciously cooked, complete with crispy, salty skin, and a tumble of new potatoes was, simply, the best thing I’d eaten all year. I was, for a brief moment, violently angry when I’d finished. So I took it out on the side salad. The side salad always gets it. What 60 Hope Street has the confidence to grasp is that the quality of the food is paramount: yes, my friend’s plate looked like a carnival and mine like a canteen supper, but they were equally memorable, and equally given exactly the right treatment.

We skipped the Deep fried jam butty (but we do love it), and went for a Raspberry bavarois and Lemon cheesecake with a zippy pink lemonade foam (foam? they’re so cocky they still do foam and get away with it!) and delicious grapefruit ice cream.

With a flinty Sancerre (and a couple of cheeky cocktails) the bill came to around £120. It was money well spent.

As we say, restaurants come, restaurants go. But on this evidence, 60 Hope Street is staying just where it is.

60 Hope Street

7 Responses to “Review: 60 Hope Street, Liverpool”

  1. Unfortunately, I recently had my first bad experience at 60 Hope Street – it was the service, not the food. Despite raising my complaint politely with the supervisor, I was still treated in a manner that I can honestly say that I never expected from 60 Hope Street staff. I was disappointed to say the least hopefully someone from the establishment will read this and review the current selection of staff to pick out those letting what is and always has been a restaurant that Liverpool can be proud of.

  2. […] The Homebaked team were featured on BBC1′s The One Show on Friday, and the campaign has already got to nearly £4,000 aiming to reach a target of £13,000 – with support from food critic Jay Rayner (which is more than can be said of his visit to the London Carriage Works.Seems he feels the same about black tiles as plates as we do.) […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.